Premier Brad Wall's decision to retire has been a financial boon for the Saskatchewan Party, with more than $385,000 in memberships sold since his announcement on Aug. 10, 2017.
According to the party, membership has nearly tripled from the 9,500 members prior to Wall's announcement, to a total of 27,125 members. Each member will be eligible to vote in the upcoming leadership election, scheduled for Jan. 27, 2018.
It is also the highest number of members the Saskatchewan Party has ever had at one time.
"The Saskatchewan Party is so excited to have this many members eligible to vote for the next Saskatchewan Party leader and Premier of Saskatchewan," said Sask. Party executive director Patrick Bundrock, in a written statement.
Just over half of the members — at 13,973 — had never held a Saskatchewan Party membership before.
By the numbers
The party offers four types of memberships. A youth membership is $5, a one-year membership is $10, three years is $25 and five years is $40. Some members may be eligible to receive a tax refund.
Here's a breakdown of the new or renewed membership totals post Aug. 10, 2017:
- Youth - 1,789 members = $8,945
- 1 year - 5,650 = $56,500
- 3 year - 5,807 = $145,175
- 5 year - 4,379 = $175,160
A total 17,625 new or renewed memberships brought in $385,780 for the Saskatchewan Party.
The money will be split 50-50 between the party and the constituency in which the member lives.
Organizations launch campaigns
The boost in membership comes after campaigns by a variety of organizations.
The Saskatchewan Teachers' Federation encouraged the province's teachers to take out party memberships and vote in the upcoming elections for both Sask. Party and NDP leadership, depending on candidates' views on education.
'We're definitely at a place in our province where we need strong leadership on both sides of the floor, so instead of being non-partisan I've switched to multi-partisan.'
- Tammy Robert
The Massage Therapist Association of Saskatchewan posted to Facebook calling on people to buy memberships to both parties and vote for the candidates who best support the association and its goal to secure provincial regulation for the industry.
Advocis, The Financial Advisors Association of Canada, recommended people buy Sask. Party memberships and support specific candidates who want to scrap the provincial sales tax on individual life and health insurance.
A number of Saskatchewan residents purchased memberships in order to have a say in who the next premier of Saskatchewan will be.
Blogger becomes 'multi-partisan'
"We're definitely at a place in our province where we need strong leadership on both sides of the floor, so instead of being non-partisan I've switched to multi-partisan, I guess," said Tammy Robert, author of the Our Sask blog.
She also bought a membership to the NDP but found out that the party's constitution states members cannot be a supporter of any other political party.
The Saskatchewan Party will be sending out ballot packages to members in the coming days, with the deadline for members to return their mail-in ballots to the Sask. Party by Jan. 26, 2018, at 5 p.m.
Members will also have the opportunity vote in-person at the leadership convention on Jan. 27 at Prairieland Park in Saskatoon.
A one-year membership to the Sask. Party is $10, three years is $25 and five years is $40. The deadline to purchase a membership in time to vote for the new party leader passed on Dec. 8.